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NIMUE'S BAR

Polished urban fantasy slice-of-life, with a larger plot woven through

By Krako, member

Jan 20, 2019: It’s about a bartender in a hidden community of supernatural beings. I won’t summarise any more because I don’t want to spoil the skillfully crafted beginning. The author has a real flair for indirect exposition; world, character, and plot information is introduced subtly and gradually. Pay attention to details and you will be rewarded. Notice, for example, that the serial’s very first line of dialogue sets up for a later plot point.

Most of the tropes of conventional urban fantasy are thankfully avoided in Nimue’s Bar. The magical elements mostly aren’t anything special, with the exception being the protagonist’s condition, which passively affects the environment and people’s minds. It’s a great mechanic that adds much to the character and the plot.

The cast, in general, is fleshed out and interesting. The protagonists are relatable and the antagonist is detestable. As a slice-of-life work, most of the plot so far is small-scale, but there’s a larger story of a black vs. grey political conflict going on in the background.

Not much to say style and grammar-wise. It’s third person present tense with few typos. There’s the occasional wrong tense, but it’s not very distracting.

I have one problem with Nimue’s Bar, which is an arc with a silly side story-esque tone. I don’t think it’s strictly a bad subplot; it’s funny and it does develop several of the characters. But it’s jarring when people who are usually quite human and three-dimensional act like exaggerated cartoons. It doesn’t take away my enjoyment of the serial though, and it might appeal to someone who likes to have a serious main plot broken up by goofy hijinks.

I recommend Nimue’s Bar.

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53 GANYMEDE

Charming Urban Fantasy

By Palladian, editor, author of Super

May 5, 2018: 53 Ganymede is an unwinding tale told in vivid snippets of a young woman’s life as she starts over after a devastating personal loss. We follow Claire as she moves to a new city, and I was struck first by the way the author establishes a strong sense of place and feeling for her readers. She not only does so thorough a job of describing the city that I feel like I’m there with Claire, she is able to convey a lot of the feeling of being there through her words.

I also really like the way the author slowly teases out the details of Claire’s life, and the lives of the other people she ends up living with at 53 Ganymede. The way the author makes us feel at home, yet curious about the story’s surroundings, while unraveling Claire’s story, as well as those she meets is masterful.

At first, I’d only intended to read enough of the story to give a First Look review, but it sucked me in and I’d gotten to the end of the available chapters in short order (currently in the middle of its second season). Along with the things I liked above, I think the other way the author got me involved was the way Claire did – somehow stepping into a place where subtle magic exists, and where there are fascinating mysteries behind every street corner. One of the things I liked in particular about this series was that it flouts a lot of the urban fantasy convention of often having some pretty dark things going on. Somehow, the author has made the story feel comforting and inviting while still adding elements of magic and mystery that urban fantasy thrives on. I have to admit, I’m hooked and looking forward to more.

In general, my hat’s off to this author, and I’d recommend this story to anyone who enjoys urban fantasy, or even fantasy in general. I also think those who enjoy slice-of-life types of stories would enjoy this one, too, as well as anyone who enjoys good storytelling with loving attention to detail on surroundings, especially.

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NEWSHOUND

Gripping Good Story!

By Walter, author of The Fifth Defiance

Jul 3, 2017: The Good:

The author has a fine sense of character. You’ve seen hard charging journalists, supportive but skeptical editors and free spirit friends before, but they are well drawn and possess a specificity that augurs well for this series.

The overall arc appears to be the slow discovery of a dark design, but this is complicated by the fact that, as a muckraking journalist, that is exactly what the main character needs there to be. Further, she is concerned about her own paranoia, and everyone who knows her tells her that she worries too much. It raises an intriguing hint of unreliable narrator.

The side characters smoothly play to type, but avoid falling into the stereotypical traps that you might worry about. You will find yourself nodding along as a prickly editor winds our heroine up, only to find that this is not the ideological descendant of J. Jonah Jamison that you were expecting at all.

This is also a story that knows how to take its time. We are several installments in before our protagonists lycanthropy takes the stage, and the time spent in familiar surroundings grounds the character in a way that will pay dividends as the events of the story unfold. The author has established a baseline, and now we can feel the impact of events which might push the characters away from that baseline.

The Bad:

There is an odd tension between the story’s setting and the protagonist;s job which can jerk you out of your immersion. The protag researches information on reddit, only to turn around and write it to a newspaper column that could never possibly reach as many people as you could on the site. Editors haggle over inches, though surely the newspaper’s website is where most people who read these stories will see them.

This same slight time jump dogs other aspects of the story. People call one another rather than texting. People wait nervously for someone’s arrival, rather than knowing their progress their various apps. Press conferences are the definitive spin on issues rather than exclamation points on the social media arena where you’d expect these issues to be threshed out etc.

Verdict:

Fundamentally, Newshound is a fun read. The schedule states that we should expect 2 thousand new words every 2 weeks, and if your impressions are anything like mine, you’ll think that’s not nearly enough.

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